Chapter 3 - And it can even get worser Dream. Hallucination.
'Your parents are lost!' Priscilla whispered aghast, her hands lifting to her
'If only I knew the answers to those questions, if only I knew any answers at
all,' replied Monique, her fingers trembling as she entwined them in her lap.
Priscilla sighed over the top of her clenched knuckles. The girl sitting on
the bed opposite her was about her own age, twelve, or close to it. Yet Monique
was really quite striking: large, smouldering eyes, smokey dark hair in long,
tumbling ringlets, a strong, straight nose and full, rounded lips in an oval
face. But for the fact that she was very distressed she was, as Henry had
considered, quite a beautiful young girl.
'Why didn't Dad and Mum tell us when you arrived?' said Priscilla, clearly
'I think that they wanted to get me off to sleep as soon as they could. They
desired to talk together, without me around, or any of you, for that matter, I
suppose. I do know that your Father is going to speak with all kinds of people
in authority, here and in South Africa. He told me on the plane that he was
going to do his best to find out what has become of my Mother and Father.'
Monique looked as if she was ready to shed more tears.
'Oh you poor thing,' said Priscilla, rising and coming to sit with her.
Without thinking, she placed her arm around the girl's shoulders and Monique
responded, taking Priscilla's hand. 'I do not know what I am to do?
I am here, a half a world away from my Parents. I have no power. I can do
nothing. I am a prisoner in a free land, a good land I hope, but here all that I
can do is wait for others to decide what is to become of me and what is to be
the fate of my Mother and Father.'
Priscilla felt a terrible pang of pity tear at her heart for this distressed
But what could she do?
Then, summoning up her own inner courage, she said, 'I think Dad and Mum are
right. You need rest. Yes, I would really like to know everything that you can
tell me, but I think it should wait until the morning. Come on, get into bed and
Monique looked at Priscilla with glistening tears in her eyes as she lifted
her legs. 'I don't know you, you or your Brothers, but I should like to. And yet
I am so very tired. Can you forgive me?'
She settled down beneath the sheets, curling up, and Priscilla covered her with
a soft blanket.
At that moment, Granny Black looked in. 'Girls, time to turn off the light.
Do try to sleep. You'll both feel much better for it in the morning. I'm just
down the hall, if you need me.'
'Thanks Gran', Priscilla whispered, climbing into her own bed. She pulled up
the sheets and drew a coverlet over them, then reached out to turn off her bed
lamp, which was sitting on top of two unpacked boxes.
But Monique, the newest import from the far away continent of Africa, was
already drifting into the land of dreams.
There was a loud SNAP!
A sound rather like the crack of a Christmas bon-bon.
Priscilla looked out of her window, down into the sprawling tangle of the garden
below. Moonlight illuminated the broken pieces of kitchen cupboards and benches
and bathroom debris. For some moments her sight hovered about the scene and its
stillness, until she slowly realised that she herself was hovering. She could
feel her toes, just barely touching the bedroom floor, holding her there by the
Vaguely she wondered if she was dreaming, but the thought vanished as she turned
from the window and gazed toward her bed. There was a figure lying in it.
Surprised, yet somehow not shocked, she saw that it wasn't her. She had read
somewhere about astral travel, about how the mind, (or was it the soul?) could
take leave of the body and drift away freely of its own accord.
Yet now she was gazing at someone else lying there in her own bed: someone...or
Before she could look closely, her drifting feet carried her beyond her own bed
toward the other one where Monique lay. She seemed hidden in shadow, though
Priscilla could see her arm extended into the light that fell across it. Then,
without any will of her own, Priscilla drifted toward the open doorway and out
onto the landing. She hovered there, feeling something like the soft caress of a
breeze, then gently wafted along the way to the next room. Through the open door
she glimpsed the outline of two more beds. Moonlight splashed across the
coverlets under which both Louis and Henry slept. In the stillness, she could
hear the soft sighing of their breathing.
Passing on, she moved to the last room, and from within she heard a mumbled
snoring from Grandma Black.
At the point where the stairs led below, her vision took in the alcove where
other smaller steps rose toward the attic.
For a moment she felt a sudden thrill, almost of excitement and panic
together, then she was gliding down the stairs and out into the open area of the
There, she moved toward the front of the house, along the corridor past the
living room to one side and the dining room on the other. Then she drifted by
the old billiard room to her left and beyond the second bedroom on her right,
until she came to the bedroom of her parents.
Priscilla lingered at the door, her toes just fleetingly touching the varnished
surface of the floor. Then she slowly drifted inside.
On the instant, she heard a voice inside her head say, 'Oh no, I hope they're
not trying to make babies!'
And then she was gazing down at Rachael and Matthew where they both lay
sleeping. They were lying on their sides, turned away from each other so that
their backs were pushed together. It seemed a comfortable position and in the
faint light of a street lamp, Priscilla could make out their features: calm and
serene in repose.
For a moment, she felt as if she would like to be with them, then her toes
carried her away and she left the room and began to return along the hall.
Her drifting feet took her down the hall toward the long scullery-kitchen and
the tiny sitting room at the back of the staircase where the entrance to the old
bomb shelter ( which had earlier been a cellar ) was located. Her eyes wandered
over the dark-panelled timbers to the door that hid the steps leading below.
It came to her that she would like to explore both attic and cellar once the
family had settled in.
Moving on, she wandered toward the rear of the house and there, where the
kitchen overlooked the garden, and a sunroom on the left bent toward a large
four-car garage, she halted, gazing out.
In the bright moonlight the garden took on a completely different look to that
of day: it appeared ethereally still and impalpable. Nothing moved. The trees
and shrubs seemed frozen. Not a breath of air stirred their leaves. Even the
broken remnants of the kitchen cupboards and benches and the remains of the
bathrooms and laundry were locked within this scene as if painted there.
Priscilla stared out at it, her eyes roving over the bright splashes of
moonlight, taking in a wild riot of growth that filled the garden. She knew that
it contained many plants and flowers and shrubs and trees, but she had never
before had the time or the inclination to take in the vista that lay there all
The movement was so subtle, yet it attracted her attention. It seemed to slide
along the line of shadows at the margins of the trees toward the far end of the
garden. At first she took it to be a possum, then it slowly eased out into the
moonlight and she saw that it wasn't.
Her heart soared. It was a dog. It was her own Missey!
The animal was far too small and it was completely black.
It turned and in the moonlight, in profile, she could see that it resembled some
kind of shaggy-furred fox terrier.
Slowly, it's head bent toward the kitchen windows, as if it was looking directly
For a moment it seemed that they were staring at each other.
Then it trotted away into the shadows and was lost to sight.
After a while, Priscilla felt her feet moving again. She began to retrace her
path through the kitchen and back to the sitting-room. There, by the faint light
of the moon, she again gazed at the dark-stained wooden door that led down into
the cellar. She reached out her hand and, for the first time, became aware of
the feeling of touch, as her fingers closed over the cold iron handle. In the
silence, the sound of no sound seemed almost audible. The door swung open to
reveal darkness beyond.
The smell of dank mould rose and drifted out from the depths.
Momentarily, Priscilla wanted to enter, but then her feet swept her away back to
the staircase and she was slowly wafted aloft until she reached the landing and
thence along past Grandma Black's bedroom and that of her brothers, to her own
Inside, she saw that her bed was now empty. A sudden wave of relief and
exhaustion swept over her.
She drifted down to it and fell onto the welcoming coverlet. Scrambling beneath
it, Priscilla glanced toward Monique's bed.
The moon's light had moved and now swept full across the room.
A figure lay under the coverlets in the bed. But it was not Monique.
It was the form of a shop dummy: an eyeless, smooth shape that seemed to mimic
the human form.
A very loud CRACK! echoed through Priscilla's ears.
Chapter 4 [Next]